I've never wanted kids. I don't think I ever thought a day in my life about having a child or raising a child. But around the holidays I can catch a glimpse of that excitement parents must feel from the joy of their youngins over the holidays. Of course it's not all the kids who feel joy at this time; unfortunately it's a minority at my school. Many kids are indifferent or sad about the holidays. Some are being evicted now. Too many kids are terrifed to spend so much time at home when it's too cold to go outside and they don't have the option to just roam around the streets. They'd rather be in school than at home, and they act out in extraordinary ways to get attention as we get closer to the break.
I don't speak enough here of the good kids: Jay is the only kid in my three classes who is not African-American. He is Guatemalen and his parents don't speak much English. He is a tough, resilient mofo who takes a great deal of ribbing for being Latino. The kids razz him and tell him to take his swine flu ass back to Mexico, they trip him and knock his books down, they taunt him mercifully. But he stands his ground, he wins more and more friends over to his side with his charm and infectious smile. And he's diligent about his classwork, but has indescribably awful English spelling skills, which puts him amongst about the top-third of his classmates in that area.
Or Chandler, who is terrifically bright and who maintains a 122% average in my class because not only does she do every assignment, she also does all the extra credit I assign to kids who are failing in order to try to get them to 60% when they freak out a week before report cards come out. She gets furious if I dare call on anyone else to read out loud in class. She once hustled me out of extra Reesee's Cups on treat day, and then felt so guilty about it she wrote about it in the answer to a question about lying. The question was "tell me about a time you lied to get something. What was it? Was it worth it?" Her answer was worthy of Augustine: "One time I lied to Mr. G to get extra Reesee's Cups. I told him he forgot to give me mine and he believed me and he gave me more. Yes, it was worth it, because I have a sweet tooth."
Or Earache, whose continuous patter and bizarre textual connections and whose Tourette's-like profane outbursts both aggravate and amaze. I find him so entertaining, so charming, so enthusiastic about everything. He asked me if I could drive him home yesterday and I did so just so I could hear him tell me stories for 12minutes. I drove him 12 minutes further away from my house, adding substantially to my commute, just to hear Earache tell me about the baby shower his mother was having, and who was coming, and what foods they would have, and what he hoped the baby's name would be, and how he was going to beat up anyone who messed with the baby, and did I want to come, and did I like cake with blue icing, white icing, or no icing, and he saw a video of a bird which danced like MJ, and did I ever see Forest Gump?, etc.
There are several good kids in each of my clases. Many of the annoying kids are good kids, too. And when I point out "good" kids, I don't necessarily mean that the rest are "bad." Yes, there are some "bad" kids. But most of the not-good kids are not bad, they are troublesome. Whatever, enough. Pray for a snow day!